TV Recaps

‘Superman & Lois’ Season 2 Episode 2 Recap: “Ties That Bind”

Photo Credit: The CW

Superman & Lois’ second episode of the season had Doomsday killing miners, brother drama, Lois being plagued by a cult and the debut of Lara in A.I. form. Though certain losers were more focused on what they deemed to be the show going “woke.” I have a lot of thoughts about that.

Stay Woke

Woke started as a phrase used by Black people to warn people about police and other racial violence. Over the years, “woke” was co-opted by neckbeards to complain about anything they didn’t like. A TV show having LGBT characters? Woke! Black people being leads of a series and having meaningful stories? Woke! History being taught in schools? Woke! Saying happy holidays and not Merry Christmas? Woke! They turned it into a pejorative.

I remember in the first season of this show that these people would compliment it for not being woke. That changed this week with the reveal that Sarah kissed a girl at camp. Outrage ensued. There were tweets complaining that Sarah and the show is ruined because she’s a lesbian now. These people think there’s only two options for sexuality: Straight or super gay. Bisexuality is apparently a myth to them.

People with this mindset make being a fan online difficult. They view characters with different lived experiences than them as a personal attack. They can relate to the Kent family as straight white people, but Latina Sarah kissing a girl at camp? A scandal and an outrage! These idiots don’t seem to realize what a common scenario that is. Summer break cheating, with both partners of different and same sex, happens all the time.

And what exactly about Sarah kissing a girl offscreen ruins the character or even the show? If an offscreen (or even on screen) kiss between two girls ruins a show for you, you are homophobic and pathetic. If you’ve been fawning over the acting, writing and cinematography of this series, but even the mention of two girls lips meeting brings out such fragility in you, just quit watching and watch NCIS. You clearly can only handle Wilmer Valderrama levels of spice.

Sarah cheating with a girl wasn’t the only reason mouth breathers were throwing the word woke around. They were also pearl clutching over Superman not being America’s little bitch. These fans want uber patriot Superman who when Mitch says twerk, Superman throws that ass back in a circle for America. Call me a gatekeeper for saying this, but if you want Superman to be the lapdog of America, you are not a real fan of the character.

Think about the implications of the most powerful man in the world being bossed around by the U.S. government. Remember how Hawaii was once a country, but became a state after America bum rushed them? If a president in that world decided that they wanted Canada to be a state, Superman could just take over Canada. They wouldn’t be able to stop him.

Clark was raised in America, but Superman belongs to the world. I’m so happy this show understands that and didn’t take the route of lazy, untalented writers who make Superman be America’s butt boy. 

Clark Meets Mommy, But Not In His Ex-Girlfriend’s Body This Time

Clark was still being plagued by visions of Doomsday punching away in the mines, so he went to Tahl-Rho for help and they went along with Jordan to the desert Fortress where both brothers got to meet A.I. Lara. This series continues to be the only live action adaptation of Superman to care about Lara. It was nice to see Clark meet his mom in her “real” face and not in the body of his ex-girlfriend who he used to makeout with. 

This episode did somewhat sell me on Tahl-Rho sticking around. I did worry that having him stay indefinitely would create a Sylar on Heroes problem. That series contorted itself to keep Sylar when narratively it would have been best to kill him in season one. I can see why Todd Helbing wants to keep Tahl-Rho for now. Clark, who is generally of sunny demeanor, hates his brother for his schemes and the whole threatening to kill his family thing. Tahl-Rho resents Clark for being the son Lara wanted to have. Zeta-Rho used Lara’s genetics to make him. Lara got pregnant with Clark the old-fashioned way.

I did find it interesting that Lara had empathy for Tahl-Rho given he used her invention to terrorize Smallville. The writing could have gone in the other direction with her being disgusted by this son she didn’t choose to have who had terrorized the son conceived in love. Instead Lara sees that he grew up with an abuser who twisted his worldview. Clark has less empathy which is understandable given that Tahl-Rho pretended to not have powers and then tried to kill Jordan. 

The introduction of Lara could be the beginning of a redemption arc for Tahl-Rho or they could double down on him as a villain. I just hope that when the time comes for the character to leave, they let him go. If this series lasts seven seasons, I find it hard to picture him as a series regular for the entire run. It is natural for him to still be around now. Next season it could feel forced like when The Flash kept doing various versions of Harrison Wells to keep Tom Cavanagh employed. Todd needs to know when the arc has ended for him.

The only problem I had with these scenes is Clark mentioning Jor-El was proud of both twins. He never met Jonathan! This show continues to act like Jonathan came out of Lois’s vagina with no involvement from Clark at all when he’s half-Kryptonian. Jordan has met two Kryptonian grandparents now and I guess Jonathan will get the Wikipedia summary of them from him because Clark is too lazy to fly his other son over to learn about his heritage. 

A Cult Leader Named Allie Allston Who Is Definitely Not Allison Mack

They finally addressed what fans have been wondering about since last season: Does Lucy still exist in this universe? She does and she’s very different from the version last seen in Supergirl season one who was a military prosecutor. This version of Lucy was in a cult led by Allie Allston and she almost killed herself. Lois reported on this cult three years ago and she hasn’t talked to Lucy since then. Now Lois is under fire after sources are recanting and Allie is coming after her. 

In the comics, there is a version of Parasite named Alexandra Allston. Todd has said there would be different versions of villains who first appeared on Supergirl, so I assume Allie is going to be Parasite on this series. I find cults fascinating so I am interested in how the show will handle this. It is a delicate issue because this is clearly inspired by NXIVM, the cult that Allison Mack was a leader of. Allison is currently in prison for racketeering, racketeering conspiracy charges  and forced labor. 

I understand if some fans will find using the crimes of a former Superman property actress as inspiration for a storyline icky, but this could be an interesting telling of the power cults have to ruin lives and families or it could be tacky as hell. Time will tell.

Who’s The Boss?

We got more Doomsday this week as he killed miners looking for the source of the earthquakes plaguing Smallville. Per Todd Helbing, we have to wait until next week for the full reveal, but after the look of the shadows of that beast in his containment suit, I’m hyped. The most interesting tidbit was Dr. Faulkner, who works for the company mining for X-Kryptonite, calls her unknown employer giddy about the beast who just killed a few employees. This immediately had fans speculating about the identity of said employer.

Some speculated that it is Lex Luthor. I’m not inclined to think it is Lex. He’s currently in the Phantom Zone after the Supergirl series finale. I doubt the show is in a rush to use Lex given how heavily that series used him. I think he’ll show up eventually, but it feels too soon to trot him out now. My best bet is on the culprit being Mitch.

Mitch has shown that he’s very keen on getting assets he can use to further American interests. I could see him using a company to mine for X-Kryptonite to give him more candidates for Supermen for America and also look for an almost unkillable creature. He’s just the kind of moron who thinks he could control Doomsday.

Random thoughts about “The Ties That Bind”:

  • I’m going to predict that most, if not all, of the Supermen of America are going to die fighting Doomsday. Some characters are going to need to die and they are the most disposable. Sorry, Tag!
  • That football player using X-Kryptonite is an interesting problem. If that existed in real life, I could imagine athletes using it. It wouldn’t show up on a drug test and it would make them as strong as Superman. 
  • I’ve noticed most of the conflicts this season were set up in season one. You have the school for people with powers that have become Supermen of America, the X-Kryptonite filled mines are still a problem and now there’s Doomsday down there feeling his oats. It is smart storytelling to lay a foundation and build on it.
Alan Sarapa
Alan is a Maryland resident and lifelong Superman fan. He has a monthly soap column at The Pop Break and is a co-host on daytime themed podcast The Chat.

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